Friday July 10th – Fifty year old haematologist-oncologist doctor, Farid Fata, from Detroit was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Every day people put their trust and even their lives in the hands of doctors with the expectation that they have our best interests at heart. But what happens when they don’t? Victims, I mean…patients, of Dr. Farid Fata had to learn the hard way.
Fata prescribed cancer treatments and drugs to patients who did not need them or did not need them to the severity he prescribed. Some of his patients didn’t even really have cancer. In September of last year he pleaded guilty to intentionally misdiagnosing patients and suggesting inappropriate treatments for patients. So what was to gain by forcing people to live a health nightmare? Money. Plain and simple.
Fata admitted guilt on the following counts:
- Thirteen counts of Medicare fraud
- One count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks
- Two counts of money laundering
This last Friday, in front of many of his victims, he finally received his fate. At the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, he was sentenced to 45 years in prison with an extended appeal. He also had to return the almost eighteen million dollars that he fraudulently collected from Medicare and other insurance companies.
Over the week of his hearing victims came and gave their heartfelt, emotional testimony. All of them wore yellow to show support and solidarity to the fellow victims, many of which will experience lasting effects for the rest of their lives.
Hearing the verdict gave little to no peace to his former patients. Forty-five years may be a long time but it was no secret that the goal for many of those affected was for Fata to receive 175 years for the 553 patients he wronged.
This is one of the most grievous medical fraud cases in American history. Federal prosecutors called him “egregious” and said that to him, “patients were not people. They were profit centers.”
While Fata may not have shown remorse before his hearing, he was certainly apologetic in court. According to WDIV, Fata said he felt “ashamed” of his behaviour and confessed:
“I have violated the Hippocratic Oath and violated the trust of my patients. I do not know how I can heal the wound. I do not know how to express the sorrow and the shame.”
Prior to sentencing Fata attempted to explain the motivation for his actions. He said:
“The quest for power is self-destructive. They came to me seeking compassion and care. I failed. Yes, I failed.”
That’s a bit of an understatement! He preyed on people’s worst fears and took advantage of them. People died at the hands of his greed and others still suffer to this day. Should he survive the end of his sentence he will be in his nineties when released.
While it may be unlikely that he will make it to the end of his sentence, victims wanted the 175 years for what it represented. Accountability. I, for one, don’t think that’s too much to ask for…